HOPEWELL — A Buffalo-area man who claims he fell and seriously injured his back nearly seven years ago at the Ontario County Health Facility will be getting $900,000 from the county.
The county Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the settlement with David Cairns during the board’s meeting Thursday. Cairns filed a lawsuit over the September 2012 incident.
According to court documents, Cairns claimed he fell when a board came loose on a wooden ramp at the nursing home in Hopewell. He was delivering medical supplies for a Buffalo-area company.
The health facility was then owned and operated by the county. The county sold the nursing home, now called Ontario Center, to a New York City-based company in 2014.
A jury trial in the Cairns case had been set for Oct. 7. According to the resolution approved by the county board, the cost to defend the case could have been substantial with no certainty of the outcome.
The parties in the case, through mediation, negotiated a settlement that includes no admission of wrongdoing on the county’s part.
County Attorney Holly Adams and other county officials did not return an email from the Finger Lakes Times seeking comment on the settlement. The Buffalo-area law firm of John Fromen, which is representing Cairns, also did not return an email seeking comment.
According to court documents, Cairns said he was using a hand truck — commonly known as a dolly — to move boxes up the ramp when he fell. He said he stayed on the ground for a few minutes before getting up and reporting the fall and loose board to a nursing home employee.
Cairns said he finished his delivery and made other deliveries in the Rochester area after that, but noticed his leg was numbing. Cairns said he went to a doctor and later a chiropractor, and was out of work for several weeks before returning.
In a deposition, Cairns said he made more deliveries to the nursing home in the months after the fall. He said by that time, the ramp had been repaired or replaced with an asphalt ramp.
Cairns said he later had surgery for a herniated and torn disc, leading to him being placed on disability and losing his job.
In other board matters:
• REAPPOINTMENT — The board reappointed Mike Manikowski, the county’s longtime economic developer, for another term which will run through September 2021.